Hearts: John Souttar & Uche Ikpeazu both ruled out for five months

Hearts' Craig Levein reveals John Souttar and Uche Ikpeazu injury blows

Scottish Premiership leaders Hearts have suffered a major twin injury blow with centre-back John Souttar and striker Uche Ikpeazu both ruled out for the next five months.

Scotland defender Souttar, 22, has a hip injury that will require a period of recuperation while Ikpeazu, 23, will need an operation on a foot injury.

The duo have been key players in the Tynecastle club's superb start.

Hearts, two points clear of city rivals Hibernian, host Aberdeen on Saturday.

Souttar has started all 14 of Hearts' matches this season and also won his first Scotland caps against Belgium, Albania and Israel.

English forward Ikpeazu has scored four goals in 10 matches since arriving from Cambridge United in the summer.

"John will be out for five or six months by the looks of things," said manager Craig Levein. "He landed awkwardly and tore the lining of his hip, which is a blow."

"And while we're on it, Uche will be out for five months as well. This problem we've had with his foot we've managed to finally get to the bottom of. It's a really obscure problem which needs an operation."

Levein believes Souttar suffered the injury during the first half of Scotland's Uefa Nations League defeat in Israel last week.

The centre-back was sent off just after the hour mark in the 2-1 loss, with manager Alex McLeish saying he was about to replace him before his dismissal.

It is the second major injury Souttar has suffered since joining Hearts, having ruptured an Achilles last February.

"He is a tough boy," Levein said. "He is just unfortunate. He dealt with his previous injury and got on with it and worked really hard to get himself into a position where he could help himself and the team."

Uche Ikpeazu tweet

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